Playing Videos on the TV from USB Drive

I understand the economics of streaming movies.  I know Netflix and Amazon and everyone else wants to get me to pay monthly to watch movies.  However, there are two problems.

  1. I don’t want to pay every time.  I already pay for DirecTV and don’t want to pay for another service.
  2. Internet access is not always perfect and I hate, hate, hate low quality video.

So the answer for me, historically, has been to watch DVDs.  At some point I ripped the movie off the DVD and make a digital copy for myself. (FBI, I owned the DVDs and don’t share them so back off)  However, the problem is the decide HOW to play the videos on the television in a simple way.

DirecTV has a USB port, but it seems to be useless.

My Sharp TV has a USB port, but doesn’t support NTFS or USB 3.0 so I can’t have large movie files and it’s slow.  This makes it impossible to use the feature.

My Blu-Ray device has a USB port and plays the files, but there is a strange audio lag happening to the TV so it makes it intolerable.

I bought a Roku 3.  It has this bizarre idea where “apps” are called “channels”.  It has a USB port, but requires an app, I mean channel to access it.  Crazy UX.  Anyway, it played videos, but could not play subtitles!  We have some foreign movies and I need the sub-titles.  Crap, this thing sucks!

I could use a laptop, but it doesn’t have a remote control and is a pain in the ass to keep connecting and moving.

Finally, I tried the WD Live for just $86.  The video works automatically and has a button for subtitles.  Look at the remotes for the Roku 3 and the WD Live below.


The WD Live is much more robust.  The only downside is that it doesn’t support Amazon Prime Instant Video.

I know, I know, I just finished trying to play my own videos.  However, I just saw this thing on Amazon, some original content and I (as a prime customer) wanted to watch it.  Neither my Sharp TV, nor DirecTV, nor the new WD Live has Amazon Prime.

I just can’t seem to get my perfect situation.  Oh well, at least I got subtitles.


One reply on “Playing Videos on the TV from USB Drive”

I airplay Amazon prime videos from my iPhone/iPad through Apple TV. You’ll need a newer version of iOS (7 works for sure).

The Marketo Mobile guy 🙂

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